First published in 1977, Social Class, the Nominal Group and Verbal Strategies
reports on the results of a grammatical analysis of the speech of a large sample (about 300) of five-year-old middle- and working-class children. The author is concerned in particular to answer the questions: What is the relationship, within certain restricted contexts, between the use of particular grammatical structures and factors such as social class, IQ and sex? How are any differences in the type or frequency of structures to be interpreted? The central part of the book presents the results of a set of correlations: the correlations of linguistic categories on the one hand, with sociological or 'background' categories on the other. The author then sets this study and its results in the perspective of related research and comments on some aspects of the 'deficit-difference' controversy. Finally, he presents his own conclusions in a detailed discussion. He argues that, instead of trying to ascertain the purely linguistic competence of children from different backgrounds, we must rather compare the different verbal strategies they use in a particular situation or context. The book will be of interest to students of language, linguistics, pedagogy and education.
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